Coming soon to the Lone Star State: more office space and a data centerComing soon to the Lone Star State: more office space and a data center

We’re investing $600 million to develop the Midlothian site, which will create a number of full-time jobs, as well as hundreds of construction jobs to build the new data center. As part of this investment, we’re also making a $100,000 grant to the Midlothian Independent School District to support the continued growth and development of the region’s STEM programs in schools.

In Austin, we already have more than 1,100 employees working across Android, G Suite, Google Play, Cloud, staffing and recruiting, people operations, finance and marketing. As we continue to grow, we’ve leased additional office space at Block 185 and Saltillo—located in downtown Austin and east Austin, respectively—to accommodate our short and long-term growth.

A father-son team uses technology to grow a 144-year-old businessA father-son team uses technology to grow a 144-year-old business

Founded in 1875, Merz Apothecary is considered a Chicago landmark. For five generations, the pharmacy has been home to a collection of unique, hard-to-find goods from all over the world. Abdul Qaiyum bought the business in 1972, managing to grow the business during a time when most independent pharmacies were giving way to large chain drug stores. Abdul’s three sons worked there growing up and today, Merz Apothecary is run by Abdul and his son, Anthony. “We’re not your traditional pharmacy,” says Anthony. “We carry everything from natural remedies to grooming products to home fragrances.”

One of the secrets to their continued success? Quickly embracing the power of technology. They turned to the internet while it was still in its early days, taking their first online order in 1997 and starting an e-commerce site, smallflower.com, in 1998. In 2001 they started using Google Ads to reach customers searching for their specialty products and their business began to double. They now have 60 employees and the web continues to play a critical role in their business. A YouTube channel has expanded their reach—videos sharing fun and informative product reviews have garnered over 1.5 million views. “I view the web as a way that we can deliver what we do, to everybody,” says Anthony. “Everyone is going online searching for information all the time. Google is the place where most of that gets done, so I want to be there and I want to be seen.”

Why giving blood matters, and how you can helpWhy giving blood matters, and how you can help

My father’s journey has made me passionate about ensuring that people like him have access to blood when they need it. Although 45 percent of Americans have been personally affected by blood donation, only 3 percent of Americans regularly donate blood.

I’m personally unable to donate blood, but I’ve found another way to give back to the cause: organizing blood drives at Google. Through my work organizing 20 blood drives, I’ve encountered countless others who have personal ties to blood donation, including Googlers like Daniel Otts, who regularly donates blood in memory of his son Ferris who required plasma infusions after being born prematurely. Losing Ferris forever changed Daniel’s outlook on blood donation. “I remember how thankful I was that someone, an anonymous stranger, had given of themselves so unselfishly for the benefit of someone else, quite possibly in a life or death situation,” Daniel told me.

Through these drives, we’ve collected thousands of pints of blood. And through Google’s partnership with the American Red Cross, which uses Google Maps Platform to help people find a blood drive near them, we’ve reached thousands more people across the U.S.

This technology also helped Temie Giwa-Tubosun, a Nigerian native and founder of LifeBank, an app that uses Google Maps Platform to connect blood banks with drivers, hospitals, and patients in need. To date, Temie’s app has drastically cut delivery time of blood from 24 hours to less than 45 minutes and helped save more than 4,000 lives.

Banks, governments and tech need to work together to digitize economies and increase financial inclusionBanks, governments and tech need to work together to digitize economies and increase financial inclusion

That’s more possible today than ever before because of the smartphone.Smartphones are likely the first electronic device that all of humanity will possess. There are about four billion internet users in the world today, with another one billion coming online in the next few years. Almost all of them will be using smartphones. And here’s what’s amazing about the smartphone in your pocket: Today, it has more computing power and access to information than NASA had in 1969 when they put a man on the moon.

One of the biggest opportunities in front of us is how we apply that technology to the world of money. Whether you are an individual, a business or a country, your ability to access modern financial systems is pivotal to your success.

Unfortunately, in today’s smartphone-enabled, always connected world, payments don’t work  for everyone. Younger demographics find banking experiences too antiquated. A recent study showed that 48 percent of millennials in the U.S, are considering moving to a digital only bank, and one in three millennials plan to switch banks in the next 90 days.

On the other hand, there are 2.5 billion adults in the world who are unbanked or underbanked—and the majority of them are women. This lack of access has huge implications for families, children, commerce and society at large. Besides consumers, payment challenges have an outsized impact on small businesses, the backbone of every economy.

We need to use technology and deploy it at scale to solve these hard and real problems. Doing so will help move countries from cash to digital, accelerate economic growth, and drive financial inclusion in economies.

At Google, building for everyone is a core philosophy. We know that we do better when everyone is invited in. Because Android is open source, there are 2.5 billion active Android devices today, made by over 1,300 different companies. And because Android is an open ecosystem, there are more than one million apps on the Google Play store. 

How to Strategically Think About Technical SEO – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BenjaminEstes

We’ve all agreed that technical SEO is integral, and many of us know at least a little bit about the subject if we’re not already practitioners. But have you considered that the way you think about technical SEO could be hindering or helping your success? Today, Ben Estes from Distilled shares the agency’s tried-and-true framework for tackling technical SEO quandaries strategically.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi. Welcome to another Whiteboard Friday. My name is Ben, and I’m a principal consultant at a company called Distilled. Today I’d like to talk to you about how we think about technical SEO at Distilled. Now, technical SEO is something that a lot of people know a lot of stuff about.

You accumulate knowledge over time from a lot of different sources, and that’s where a lot of the value that we deliver comes from. But not everyone can think about technical SEO from a strategic perspective, and that’s the skill that I think we should talk more about. 

Framing the problem

Let’s start by framing the problem. So look at these charts. Now, I would argue that most people’s mental model of technical SEO matches this first chart.

So in this chart, the solid black line is the actual traffic that you’re getting, whereas the dotted line is the hypothetical traffic you could be getting if all of the technical problems on your site were resolved. So some people see this and say, “Well, you know, if I can just keep fixing technical things, I can keep getting more traffic to my site.”

That’s one way of looking at it, but I would argue that it’s not the best way of looking at it, because really there are only so many technical things that can go wrong with your site. There’s a finite number of problems. It’s not an opportunity so much as an issue that needs to be resolved. So what I try and encourage my clients and colleagues to do is think about it in this way.

So it’s the same chart and the same situation. Here’s the actual traffic that you’re getting and the hypothetical traffic you could be getting. But really what’s happening is your technical problems are keeping you from realizing the most potential traffic that you could be capturing. In other words, there are technical issues preventing us from capturing all the traffic that we could. Now, once you’ve framed the problem in this way, how do you solve it?

So some people just say, “Well, I’ve got this big problem. I need to understand how all the things that could be wrong with this site. I’m just going to dive in. I’m going to go through page by page, and I’ll finish when either I run out of pages or more realistically I run out of time or I run out of the client’s budget. So what if there’s a better way to actually solve that problem and know that it’s been solved?

Well, that’s what this framework that I’m going to present to you is about. The way that we would recommend doing that is by taking the big problem, the overall problem of technical SEO and breaking it down into subproblems and breaking those down again until you have problems that are so small that they are trivially solvable. Now, I’m going to explain to you exactly how we accomplish that, and it’s going to be a little bit abstract.

The approach

So if you want something concrete to follow along with, I’d recommend checking out the blog post at this URL. That’s dis.tl/tech-audit. Okay. So when you have a big problem that you’re trying to break down, many people’s first attempt winds up looking something like this Venn diagram. So we take one problem, break it down into three subproblems, but there’s some sort of overlap between those problems.

Once there’s overlap, you lose a lot of confidence. There is, are you duplicating effort across these different areas? Or did you miss something because these two things are kind of the same? Everything just gets a little hazy very quickly. So to get past that, what I’ve used at Distilled is this consulting concept called MECE.

Mutually exclusive and comprehensively exhaustive

MECE stands for mutually exclusive and comprehensively exhaustive. That’s a lot of fancy words, so I’ll show you pictorially what I mean. So instead of having a Venn diagram like this, what if each of the problems was completely independent? Now they still cover the same area. There’s just no overlap between them, and that’s what MECE means.

Because there is no overlap between them, they are mutually exclusive. Because they cover all of the original problem, they’re comprehensively exhaustive. So what does this mean in technical SEO specifically? Now remember the problem that we’re dealing with is that there are technical issues preventing us from capturing traffic that we would otherwise be able to. So what are the three ways that that could happen? 

  1. Maybe our content isn’t being indexed. There’s a technical reason our content isn’t being indexed. 
  2. Our content doesn’t rank as well as it could, and therefore we’re losing this traffic. 
  3. There is a technical reason our content isn’t being presented as well as it could be in the SERPs.

This is things like having rich snippets, stars, things like that that could increase click-through rate. These things seem kind of trivial, but actually all of the technical problems that you can find on your site contribute to one or more of these three categories. So again, that was pretty abstract. So let’s talk about an example of how that actually plays out. This is actually the first technical check in this audit at that blog post.

An example

So, for instance, we’re starting by considering there is a technical reason our content isn’t being indexed. Well, what are all the ways that that could happen? One of the ways is that URLs are not discoverable by crawlers, and, again, that is a whole thing in itself that can be broken down further.

So maybe it’s that our XML sitemaps aren’t uploaded to Google Search Console. Of course, this isn’t a guarantee that we have a problem. But if there’s a problem down here, there’s a pretty good chance that that trickles back up to a problem up here that we’re really concerned about. The beauty of this isn’t just that it winds up helping us create a checklist so that we know all of the technical issues we ought to be looking at.



But it also helps us convey exactly what the meaning is of our findings and why people should care about them. So this is the template that I encourage my colleagues to use at Distilled. “We are seeing ________. This is a problem because something.You should care about that because something else.” The way this works is like Mad Lib style, except we work like inside out.

So we start with this point here. We are seeing that our XML sitemaps aren’t uploaded to Google Search Console. This is a problem because maybe URLs are not discoverable by crawlers. We should care about that because there is a technical reason our content isn’t being indexed, and that right there is exactly the message that you deliver to your client.

So again, this is exactly the framework that we use for our technical audits at Distilled. It’s given us a lot more confidence. It’s given us a lot more insight into how long this process should take for our analysts and consultants, and it’s also got us better outcomes particularly because it’s helped us communicate better about what we found. Thank you very much. I would love if more people use this, and feel free to reach out to me personally if you have any thoughts or questions.

Thank you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Cloud Covered: What was new with Google Cloud in MayCloud Covered: What was new with Google Cloud in May

As May flowers bloomed, we watched our garden of blog posts grow. New features in Android phones and Gmail cropped up, and we’ve got some updates for cloud developers. Plus, check out photos and details about our new machine learning supercomputers. Here’s what was new.

Android phones help add security.
Android phones (versions 7.0+, Nougat) now come with a built-in security key. This is the FIDO type of security key, an industry standard that can be used for two-factor authentication—an extra verification step on top of a password that makes your sign-ins resistant to phishing scams.

Calendar now comes in dark mode.
When you’re looking at your Google Calendar, or at Keep, our task management tool, you can now see it in dark mode. This is nice in low light, for those of you checking the next day’s schedule in the dark, since it reduces screen brightness. Whether it’s enabled by default will depend on your version of Android and your settings. Plus, we announced the launch of Gmail confidential mode last month, so you’ll soon be able to send messages with built-in information rights management controls. This means you can create expiration dates and revoke sent messages, plus these messages can’t be forwarded, copied, printed or downloaded.

Learn lots more about these and other topics in the brand-new G Suite Learning Center.

Supercomputers for machine learning arrived.
Machine learning (ML) can help with tasks ranging from image recognition to disease research and medical diagnoses. Machine learning requires data scientists to build a model and train it with examples so that the computer can eventually learn a pattern. This requires a lot of computing power. Super powerful and expensive data centers full of servers were not enough to handle the growth of AI workloads and computational horsepower, so we created TPUs, our own hardware chips, just for the purpose of speeding up machine learning. Now, those TPUs are publicly available in pods, which are essentially stacks of these TPUs linked together to form an AI supercomputer. Data scientists and researchers can use them to do machine learning tasks much faster, in minutes or hours compared to days or weeks previously. Make sure to take a look at the photos in the post—when it comes to massive modern supercomputers, a picture is worth a thousand words. 

What cloud developers are learning about
Behind many of the apps and websites you use everyday are these things called APIs (short for application programming interface), which essentially allow these apps and sites to talk to each other. Think of a website that has a Google map embedded, for example—there’s an API in use there. API design is a hot topic among developers, since they have to make sure that different applications can all talk to each other to make a website or app run more smoothly for users. One popular post last month was about a newer way to design APIs that is simpler and requires less documentation for developers and software.

That’s a wrap for May. Stay tuned to the Google Cloud blog for more.

With 4-H, helping more students learn computer scienceWith 4-H, helping more students learn computer science

As our CEO Sundar Pichai announced today in my home state of Oklahoma, we’re making our largest ever computer science education grant from Google.org to support 4-H, the largest youth development organization in the country. This $6 million grant—made as part of Grow with Google’s efforts to ensure that everyone has access to future opportunities—will help provide more than 1 million youth across the country with computer science skills, plus computer science training for their educators.

4-H is a second home for students like Decklan Thomas, a high schooler from Bruceton Mills, West Virginia (population 86). Following three generations in the trucking industry, Decklan was certain that he was on a path to becoming a diesel mechanic. The field was appealing not only because of family tradition, but also because it allowed him to do something he liked: identifying problems and fixing them.

One day, he learned about computer science through his local 4-H chapter. He didn’t even know he was coding at first—it just felt like solving a puzzle on the computer. As he began to do more coding, he quickly saw the parallels between the skills you need to be a mechanic and the computer science he was learning at 4-H. He says, “You see something wrong, then fix it—and end up with something amazing.” Decklan is still enthusiastic about becoming a diesel mechanic, but he’s now also exploring other opportunities like becoming a biomedical engineer or even going into the Navy.

Investing in Oklahoma and across the U.S.Investing in Oklahoma and across the U.S.

Editor’s Note: This week we’re making some big moves around the $13 billion U.S. investment we announced in February. On Monday, our CFO Ruth Porat was in Michigan to announce an additional investment in our offices in Ann Arbor and Detroit. And tomorrow, we’re breaking ground on a new data center in Midlothian, TX, and expanding our office in Austin.

Today, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was in Oklahoma to announce a $600 million investment to expand our data center in Mayes County, as well as our biggest computer science education grant in Google.org’s history. Read his edited remarks below.

I enjoy visiting the places our data centers call home. I especially love to see the local touches. In the case of Pryor, it’s the mechanical bull in the lobby, which I’m told is a lot of fun. It requires good positioning, strong balance, and sometimes digging in your heels. So, not much different from my day job.

But the real reason I look forward to these visits is the community. It’s a privilege to meet the people who are making Pryor a great place to live and work.

At Google, we are technology optimists. Not because we believe in technology, but because we believe in people. 

The people of Mayes County shared our sense of optimism from the very start. That optimism is why, when Google proposed building a data center here in 2007, you welcomed us with open arms. And that optimism is what’s made it possible for Google to continue our expansion in Pryor in the years since—not once, not twice…but three times. Today’s announcement will make it four.

Pryor is already home to one of Google’s largest data centers in the country. I am pleased to announce that we will be investing another $600 million to expand the data center here and create an additional 100 jobs for the Pryor community. This brings the total investment in Oklahoma to over $3 billion, and total jobs created to more than 500.

It’s part of our $13 billion investment in expanding our data centers across the U.S. This week we also announced new investments in Michigan, and we’re breaking ground on a new data center in Texas.

This national expansion comes at a significant moment for Google. For 21 years we’ve pursued a timeless mission: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. In that time, we’ve evolved from a company that helps people find answers to a company that helps people throughout their day.

Pryor is a part of our effort to build a more helpful Google for everyone. We’ve spent more than two decades scaling our technical infrastructure to match the growth of information. And we are continuously working to make it more efficient and more reliable.

This site is an important part of our global network of data centers. This network is what powers your searches, your email, all of the photos you store and treasure, and the maps that help you find the fastest way home. And that network includes 13 locations around the world, with new data centers underway in eight additional locations.

It’s a privilege to serve billions of people every day. With that privilege comes a big responsibility to ensure that information truly serves everyone. Every day, millions of Americans go online to find answers, learn new skills, and grow their businesses. Two years ago, Google announced Grow with Google, a new effort to expand economic opportunity to all Americans. A big way we do this is through digital skills training. Our partnership with Goodwill is already helping thousands of Oklahomans learn new skills and find jobs.

We’re also excited to help young people learn computer science to prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. Since 2017, we’ve been working with the National 4-H Council to create a computer science curriculum.

Today we are pleased to be able to build on this work with a $6 million grant to support computer science education in 4-H chapters across the country. This is our largest ever computer science education grant from Google.org. It will help ensure that young people in Oklahoma and 25 other states have access to the curriculum, training, and devices to learn and grow their coding skills. I look forward to joining students to do some coding later today!

Thank you to everyone who has a hand in keeping our data center running smoothly. We’re proud to call Oklahoma home, and look forward to Pryor being a vital part of the engine that powers the internet for years to come.

Create 3D games with friends, no experience requiredCreate 3D games with friends, no experience required

Let’s say you have an idea for a video game. It could be a first-person action game starring a snail on the (slow) run from the law, or a multiplayer game featuring only pugs. There’s only one problem: You’ve never built a game before. You don’t know how to program.You don’t know any 3D artists. And every tool you find won’t let you collaborate with friends.

What if creating games could be as easy and fun as playing them? What if you could enter a virtual world with your friends and build a game together in real time? Our team within Area 120, Google’s workshop for experimental projects, took on this challenge. Our prototype is called Game Builder, and it is free on Steam for PC and Mac.

Built for gamers

How to Leverage Offline Events for Link Building

Posted by allen.yesilevich

Link building is all about creating strong, reputable relationships online — but what if you took offline strategies and applied it to building your brand online? No matter the size of your company, hosting, speaking at, or attending an event is a valuable tool for bulking up your backlinks while giving your brand industry exposure.

Every stage of the event process, from promotion and beyond, provides valuable opportunities for acquiring backlinks. The trick is to apply the correct strategy. Whether you’re sharing your event on an event listing site, reaching out to influencers to spread the word, or publishing event-specific content, leveraging your face-to-face marketing efforts to gain more backlinks will help your business — no matter its size — become more visible.

Prior to the Event

Before you set out on your link-building journey, you need to establish what pages and domains you want others to share. For an event, a dedicated landing page on your website that lists key details and invites people to register is the best place to drive potential attendees. It’s also easy to share for promotion.

Event sites

Once you have your pages and domains set up, you can take that page to event listing sites, which offer easy link opportunities. The location of your event will determine where you choose to post. For instance, if you’re hosting a small event, region-specific event sites will earn you links that increase your visibility in local search results. 

If you’re hosting a larger event with a national or global draw, Eventful or Meetup are two sites that will link out directly to your event page. As an added bonus, some larger sites will get scraped by other sources, meaning you could potentially get multiple links from one post.

Connect with influencers

Connecting with bloggers in your industry and asking them to share your event details with their followers is another way to gain links. 

Before you reach out, do some research to see what types of bloggers and influencers are best suited for this; you want to make sure the backlinks you receive are valuable, from credible sites that will help you build authority and enhance your organic search visibility. While it may be more difficult to obtain links from the experts in your industry who have higher domain authorities, they’ll be the most beneficial for brand building.

Once you establish your list of target industry bloggers, reach out and explain why your event is relevant to their audience and why sharing or posting about it would add value to their content. 

A big mistake people often make is expecting content without contributing anything in return. Would you show up to a potluck without a dish and eat all of the food? Consider offering an incentive, like an opportunity for cross-site promotion so that the partnership isn’t just transactional, but mutually beneficial. Not only will this help you acquire a new link, but it will also help you get more exposure to people in your target market that you may not have been able to reach previously.

During the Event

Whether your company is hosting an event or someone from your team is speaking at one, there are many opportunities to support your site’s link building efforts. Attendees can have a positive effect on your organization’s backlink profile. As the old saying goes, if you didn’t post about it, were you even there? Professionals and brands alike love sharing thought leadership insights and event recaps in the form of blogs and social posts. When they do, there’s a good chance they’ll be sharing a link to your company’s site.

Write about it

Even if you’re only attending an event, there are link building opportunities to take advantage of. Post daily blogs highlighting the key takeaways from that day’s sessions or share your take on a memorable keynote. Event-specific content has a good chance of making its way to and being shared by the speakers, event host, other attendees, and your team back at the office.

“Consider offering an incentive, like an opportunity for cross-site promotion so that the partnership isn’t just transactional, but mutually beneficial.”

To increase your chances of getting your content out in front of the right people, share it in a quick email or LinkedIn message to a presenter or marketing lead from the company hosting the event. Of course, you should always share your post on your own and your company’s social media channels and tag the relevant players. The hope is that, by being included and getting free publicity, these high-quality sources will feel inclined to share your content

Network, network, network

While posting about events can help you get links, you should also focus on building long-term relationships with other leaders in your industry. There is no better time to do this than when at an event. In fact, 81 percent of event-goers say they attend events for networking opportunities. If you’re networking, you can set yourself up well to establish future linking partnerships with sites in similar or complementing industries.

After the Event

You can still acquire backlinks from your offline event after you’ve headed back to work. Some of the best link building opportunities have yet to come.

Follow up with email

If you spoke at an event, you can nurture the people who attended your session through email and send them relevant information. Setting up a landing page on your site with downloadable slides from your presentation can easily be shared and linked. If they haven’t done so already, see if your contacts are willing to share their event experience on their blog and social pages. This will give you crowdsourced content with valuable backlinks.

Track your efforts

It’s important to track your backlinks using social listening tools after the event. If you feel the linking sites could offer synergies, either for content or business purposes, reach out to discuss mutually-beneficial partnerships.

Remember, all the hard work you put in now will pay off in the future, too. Consistently acquiring backlinks has a snowball effect and will increase both your ranking positioning and attendee turnout for future events.

Wrapping up

One of the best link-building strategies you can leverage is your real-life relationships. What are some ways you’ve transformed an in-life connection into a valuable, digital backlink? 

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